MID Reform is Not Impossible

Diane Yentel

MID Reform Would Help More Americans Afford Housing

In a February 21, 2017 opinion piece, Diane Yentel writes about the impossibility of MID Reform (Mortgage Interest Deduction.)

Writes Yentel,

“For years the mortgage interest deduction (MID) was considered an untouchable third rail program. Powerful opponents with deep pockets created a sturdy mythology around the program’s importance: it was created to help people realize the American dream of home-ownership (it wasn’t); it incentivizes home-ownership (it doesn’t); it is targeted to those who need it (it isn’t); it is a reasonable use of $75 billion in federal resources annually (it’s not).”

Writes Yentel,

“When NLIHC Founder Cushing Dolbeare first called for the MID’s reform over 40 years ago, she was told such reform would never happen – “it’s impossible.” In our last comprehensive tax reform law over thirty years ago, that was true. Cushing, it turned out, was way ahead of her time; the tax reform law increased the MID benefit.”

But leaders in housing advocacy and other have made great progress in the work to reform MID.

“Today, with the possibility of comprehensive tax reform higher than it has been in several decades, key Republicans in the Administration, in Congressional leadership, and on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee are actively considering a number of direct and indirect changes to the MID.”

While Yentel still hears from people that reforming the MID is “impossible.” She writes that she reminds “Them of what the great Nelson Mandela said: “It always seems impossible, until it’s done.”

“There is no doubt we still have a steep hill to climb to achieve our goal. But many of you spend your days working to end homelessness and housing poverty, to reverse decades of residential segregation, and to revitalize deeply distressed communities – it’s not like challenging goals have deterred us before!”

The NLIHC has relaunched the United for Homes Campaign.

The goal of the relaunch of United for Homes is to “seize this moment to redirect tens of billions of dollars towards ending homelessness and housing poverty in America once and for all.”

United for Homes proposes:

  • Lowering the cap on the amount of mortgage on which you can claim tax relief from $1 million to $500,000, impacting fewer than 6% of mortgage holders nationwide, mostly in New York and California; and
  • Changing the deduction to a credit, providing a new tax break to 15 million lower income homeowners and a deeper tax cut to another 10 million homeowners.

Diane Yentel’s Opinion Piece

Subscribe to Our Newsletter and Receive News You Can Use Every Morning

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter and Receive News You Can Use Every Friday